Top 5 lesser-known things to do in Cape Town

South Africa is one of the world’s most spectacular destinations and a fantastic choice for some winter sun, with temperatures between 22–33°C during the winter. As it's in virtually the same time zone as the UK, there’s little risk of jet lag despite the 12-hour flight.

Top 5 lesser-known things to do in Cape Town

A must-visit on any trip to South Africa is the southwest coast port city of Cape Town. Popular attractions among visitors include riding the rotating cable car up Table Mountain, touring the living museum of Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned), and discovering Boulders Beach with its African penguins. We can also recommend a visit to Bo-Kaap, which is a hub of culture, history, music, and delicious food. 

This fascinating city is also a great starting point for trips into South Africa’s hinterland or along the coast, including the much-loved Garden Route with its ancient forests, remote artist communities, mountain hideaways, and beaches – which are perfect for dolphin and killer whale sightings.

Also radiating out from Cape Town are wine routes winding through river valleys into the Cape Winelands and the Stellenbosch region – trips made all the more enticing by the atmospheric Cape Dutch farmhouse accommodation on offer.

Check out these insider tips for other lesser-known activities and attractions in Cape Town.


There are some great companies along the Atlantic Seaboard. Stretching from the V&A Waterfront down to Hout Bay, they run exciting kayaking trips out into the bay, where you might spot dolphins and whales. One company also hosts kayaking outings along the Clifton Beach shoreline that hugs the coastal intertidal rock pools.


One of the best ways to explore Cape Town is by bike, and we particularly recommend the promenade leading from the V&A Waterfront through to Camps Bay and onwards.

Walking and hiking

Cape Town and its surroundings have many paths and trails to experience, including more adventurous routes. Our top recommendation is to hike up Platteklip Gorge to the ‘table top’ of Table Mountain, have lunch, then take the cable car all the way back down. As in many places, hike with a group rather than solo and take plenty of water.

Elgin Railway Market

The small town of Elgin is about 70km (around an hour’s drive) from Cape Town, and the journey there is an experience in itself, with the road weaving through the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Better still is getting there by steam train. This is possible a few times a month when the Elgin Railway Market partners with the Ceres Rail Company to offer steam train trips to the market from Cape Town.

You meet at the Foreshore in Cape Town in the morning and enjoy a leisurely three-hour train ride, before spending a few hours shopping and snacking at the vintage steampunk railway market until it’s time to head back to Cape Town in the afternoon.

To book your holiday in Cape Town and around, call your Travel Counsellor today.

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